If you’re familiar with High Hand Nursery, then you know we are always changing. We are continually trying to come up with new ideas that can change your perception of the nursery. Kind of like, “Hmmm, there’s something different about you, but I really can’t put my finger on it.”

Has your husband or wife or significant other shaved off their beard or mustache, shaved their head, changed their hair color or whacked off their pony tail lately? And left you standing there thinking, “Hmmm, what’s different about you?”. Isn’t it funny how this works?

Relationship Tip Number 1. If you’ve found yourself in this situation wondering what was different, but can’t figure it out, refer to Relationship Tip Number 2.

Relationship Tip Number 2. Just throw out the “You look great” compliment.

I took my hat off one day and my kids started laughing at me. They said my forehead looked like a porpoise. Not the compliment I was going for. But as my son saw my smile disappearing from my face, he remembered Relationship Number 2. “You look great, dad.”

As the days count down to October 24th, the Vintage Harvest is right around the corner. You can imagine the work that goes into keeping our garden growing.

Two days ago, I decided that I was going to walk Maple Rock. I had set out to garden. In my head, I was going to cut back the dahlias, plant some pansies, pinch back a few succulents and deadhead some roses. All I wanted to do was garden. When I came upon this.

At first glance, you may not see anything wrong with this picture. The grass is showing an autumn leaf and the “rubber ducky” is sitting in the pond (can you see the duck?). As I approached this scene, something bothered me about it. That blue spruce is the wrong tree in the wrong spot.

Did any of you watch the movie “Up”? Do you remember the dog? Do you remember that no matter what he was doing or saying, whenever he saw a squirrel everything stopped as he yelled out “SQUIRREL!”. Well, this tree was my squirrel that evening.
So I went to work.

All I wanted to do was garden.

Now, let me give you a moment to collect yourself. That’s right. I chopped the top off this tree. My son, remembering Relationship Tip Number 2, simply said, “Looks great, dad. Good job.”

You see, I only had two choices. If I’d left the tree in, it’s eventual size would have been 10-15 feet by 6 to 8 feet wide. It would have grown to impede the plants around it, covered up my water feature and hidden my rubber ducky. We can’t have that now, can we?

This is where it’s gut check time. Do you take it out or do you look beyond what is to what can be? Normally, I would not advise you to cut as big as I did. I’ve just been doing it for a long time. I continued to cut and thin and prune, cutting small and then cutting big. Walking in circles, reexamining the direction I was going and changing course if necessary.

And, voila! After about forty five minutes of whacking, hacking, nipping and tucking, my creation was finished. A tree that had been growing for the last ten or so years was not sacrificed. It may not look like much at first glance. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I understand that. But I’m not looking at the tree as it stands today. Knowing what I know after thirty years of gardening, I’m actually proud of my work. I am enthusiastically looking forward to the next two seasons of nipping and tucking. I am looking forward to hearing people say, “I wonder how long that took to grow?”

Gardening is not hard and neither is 8th grade math, but when I sat at the bus stop as a first grader and opened up an 8th grader’s math book, I thought to myself, “There’s no chance that I can ever do 8th grade math.”

So, if you’re in your garden and you see something you don’t know about and you don’t know what to do, look beyond what is to what can be.

If you’re a non-gardener, you need to come to Maple Rock. It will inspire you. If you are a gardener, we will see you at Maple Rock.

Vintage antique dealers from across the state will be arriving to help celebrate the harvest season. Come and enjoy a great day in the garden. Great barbecue sandwiches and salads will be available. Live music and my squirrel, Mr. Spruce. Tickets are available at High Hand Nursery and online at www.highhand.com. Tickets will also be available at the gate.

Directions to Maple Rock Gardens can be found on the High Hand website. Do not GPS the location of Maple Rock. You’ll end up somewhere else. Maple Rock is located at the corner of Highway 193 and Clark Tunnel Road, Lincoln. Seriously, trust me. Do not GPS the location.

If you’re not a Garden Rebel, don’t fret. We all have to start somewhere. My advice to you is very simple. Don’t be afraid to fail. Gardening is something you get better with over time.

– You can garden in any space. You don’t need a huge yard.
– Stick with the seasons. Use High Hand Nursery. We are local. We will help you navigate the seasons. If you garden against the season, it’s like swimming upstream. It won’t work.
– Soil is king. You can’t just stick it into the ground, unless it’s a silk flower.
– Involve your family. Gardening is a great time to spend time together.
– Above all, have fun. Don’t take on more than you can easily manage.
– Jump in and enjoy your time outdoors.

High Hand Nursery has over 300 accumulated years of nursery and garden experience working here. High Hand Nursery is a place of passion and we who work here are extremely passionate about what we do. We want you to be just as passionate.

Sign up for our Garden Rebel email list. It can be found at our websitewww.highhand.com. This email, sent out every Thursday, outlines tips and tricks and seasonal advice for your garden. Join the Garden Rebel email list and we will navigate the seasons for you.

We have been receiving fun entries for our contest. Don’t have a camera? No problem. Sketch it. We received a sketch of Grandpa Ben and his grandson in the garden. Very cool.

So, here’s the contest. Send us a picture of you working in your garden. You have until October 31st. We will select a winner. The winner will receive a gift certificate for $100 and a personal consultation in your garden. We will bring tips and tricks to your home.

We’re looking for real Garden Rebels. Go to www.highhand.com and register for our Garden Rebel email.

Come and experience our passion for gardening at Maple Rock this Saturday. See if you can find my “SQUIRREL” in the garden. Keep doing a rain dance. It works.


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